Sustainability during Freshers

Anonymous submitted on

Monday 23rd September 2019


How does SUSU ensure sustainability and reduction in waste is maintained during freshers week?

Especially when societies are printing flyers, giving free items which generally get binned etc.


Let's keep this space positive and respectful! Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions, but please remember to keep the conversation friendly and avoid any offensive comments.

Emily Harrison submitted on

Thursday 26th September 2019


Hi there,

Thank you for your You Make Change submission.

In terms of societies giving out flyers, we haven't yet outright banned them doing this however we have stopped providing funding for any paper-based promotional activity for societies. As a Union, we have also stopped printing maps, guides and the Freshers' magazine to reduce paper use. We try our best to recycle all our leftover paper and cardboard.

We take Sustainability incredibly seriously and have a number of things going on at SUSU:

  • We have our sustainable ‘One by One’ range of eco-friendly products in the SUSU shop, including KeepCups. This is ever-growing and expanding.
  • On 23rd September we are opened our new Vegetarian and Vegan Café ‘The Plant Pot’, one of the primary aims of this is to reduce our meat consumption and carbon footprint in our catering outlets. As part of this, there will also be a zero waste shop offering with gravity dispensers full of plastic-free products (Such as rice, dried pasta and dried fruit).
  • We currently have a staff Sustainability forum set up for staff to bring ideas about how we can be more sustainable as a Union (Which has a lot of enthusiasm and positive engagement). I will be setting up a student Sustainability forum in the new academic year.
  • Recycling schemes: We are in the process of setting up a reverse vending initiative. This is where students would bring in recyclable items and exchange them for vouchers for Union outlets (Which might be a free coffee, discount in the Bridge etc.). We are also currently sorting out getting Teracycle bins for crisp packets.
  • One of the projects that Isabella, our previous VP Welfare, started last year and I am carrying on this year is around working the University to reduce food waste. We currently offer a scheme at the Union where anyone registered with the student hardship fund will get vouchers for/ notified of any leftover hot food when our outlets close at the end of the day. We are discussing whether we could do a similar thing with the University outlets too. We have also had suggestions from students about setting up a Community Fridge, so somewhere where students could leave any leftover/unwanted food they have for other people to take and this is also an option we are exploring with University Catering.
  • Something that has recently come through my email inbox is a call from other Students’ Union to join together to lobby our respective Universities to dis-invest in Fossil Fuels. This is something I raised with the University Sustainability manager and am in the process of gathering facts about. They have already made some great steps to dis-investing directly in these but the problem is the indirect links that research has. I expect this will not be a quick project but will likely continue throughout the year.
  • Another of my projects for the year which I have begun discussions about is getting a community garden set up so there is a place on campus for students to grow produce.
  • In October, we will be holding a Sustainability Fair to highlight Sustainable initiatives that are going on and how students can get involved. 

If you would like to discuss any of this further, or have more ideas for what we can be doing, please feel free to drop me an email to

Kind regards,

Emily Harrison,

President, 2019-20